The Gibson Ripper (or Gibson L9-S Ripper) was the product of guitar and pickup designer/builder Bill Lawrence. He worked at Gibson from 1972 onwards designing a number of similar solid bodies, such as the S-1 and L-6S. The first Gibson Ripper basses were produced in late 1973, to a good reception; 1974 was a good year and production at Gibson's Kalamazoo plant continued throughout the decade. Ripper production slowed into the eighties, with a trickle of basses being produced towards the end of 1982.
Bill Lawrence specifically designed the humbuckers and tone circuitry to accentuate the natural sounds of the guitar. A lower impedance giving clearer tones to those associated with some other Gibson bass guitars. It was also built out of maple and alder rather than mahogany and rosewood as was so often the case with previous models. These changes had a major impact on the sound and feel of the guitar; a Ripper is just not like a Thunderbird or EB bass.
The Ripper was available as a fretless and fretted bass; the first Gibson fretless in fact, but these sold in much smaller numbers.
For specific details and a closer look at some Gibson Ripper bass guitars, follow the links to the right.
Electric bass advertisements originally published from 1974 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Gibson advertisements
Gibson Ripper - The Ripper. Designed To Rip Your Ears Off (1974)
1974 Gibson bass advertisement. This ad was widely used in 1974. First, an enlarged double-page version was used in the January '74 issue of Guitar Player, effectively announcing the model. The bas...
Gibson Ripper - Try Gibson for a change of bass (1977)
A mid seventies (1977) advert featuring the Gibson Ripper and Gibson G3 bass guitars
"Sometimes it pays not to follow tradition. We didn't when we designed our new basses. We just followed the a...
Gibson Ripper - It Sounds Like Peter Ceteras Playing A Lot Of Basses (1977)
But hes playing a lot of bass. A Gibson
If the Gibson Ripper that Peter plays had just one sound, it would be an excellent bass. But, the Ripper is loaded with excellent sounds. The Q System...
Gibson Ripper - Gibson Guitars. To the Tune of $399 and Up (1979)
Gibson electric guitars begin with the Marauder at $399. And it begins where most of its competitors leave offâ€”with high power electronics, a full range pan pickup potentiometer and the same...
The 1975 bass catalog with Peter Cetera from the band Chicago, playing the L-9S Ripper.
The minimalist 1978 electrics catalog entitled Quality / Prestige / Innovation
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